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Surfrider hosts solstice cleanup

June 24, 2005

Lindsay Sandham

For some, the best way to celebrate the longest day of the year, the

first official day of summer, is to meet at the beach and pick up

litter.

International Surfing Day, an event sponsored by the Surfrider

Foundation's Newport Beach chapter and Surfing Magazine, attracted

about 40 volunteers to the Santa Ana River mouth before sunset on

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Tuesday.

Fourteen other communities around the world held similar events,

all promoted and sponsored by Surfing Magazine.

Ray Halowski, vice president of the Surfrider's Newport Beach

chapter, said the magazine decided to promote the event to recognize

surfers, while doing something to clean up the ocean and educate

people about the need to do so.

Trash is carried by the Santa Ana River from as far away as the

Inland Empire and finds a resting place in the rocks that mark where

the river meets the Pacific Ocean at the western tip of Newport

Beach.

"That's why we came here -- because we know that this is a place

that needs it, no matter what time of year," Halowski said.

One thing Surfrider made sure to provide was reusable cloth bags

and cloth gloves for the volunteers, rather than plastic bags that

contribute to the pollution problem, Halowski said.

Trash collectors found varying items -- including lighters and

2-gallon gas containers -- stuck in between the rocks and strewn

across the sand. They also found a lot of plastic foam pieces and

bits of plastic.

"I heard the fish think it [plastic foam] is food and eat it,"

said Marlys Billings, an Irvine resident and Newport Beach Surfrider

member.

Rachelle Zimmerman of Aliso Viejo said she also found a lot of the

material and that she thought it was someone's cooler that broke

apart.

Zimmerman, a friend of Billings', said she thought participating

in the cleanup was the perfect thing to do for the solstice.

"It's a good way to help out," she said. "I love the beach, I love

the ocean, I love it -- it's my favorite place to be. It makes me sad

that people use it as their trash can."

Halowski stressed that people need to realize anything that gets

into the watershed will eventually wind up in the ocean.

Irma Mudge and her husband, John Mudge, came from San Diego to

help out with the cleanup. The couple lived in Irvine for many years

and has stayed connected to the area through their friends at

Surfrider.

"When you're in the ocean, you know the condition of it," said

Irma Mudge, a surfer and longtime Newport Beach chapter member.

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